WASHINGTON — U.S. housing starts slipped 5.0% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 549,000 in June, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday, as sector activity continued to wane after the demise of the housing tax credit.

June home-building permits increased 2.1% to 586,000. The level of housing starts reached an eight-month low while the increase in building permits reversed two straight months of declines.

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